Like top trainers Todd Pletcher, and Kiaran McLaughlin Mike also spent time as an assistant of hall of fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Under Wayne Mike help develop such stars as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner CHARISMATIC, as well as Breeder's Cup winners CAT THIEF, ORIENTATE, SURFSIDE, and SPAIN.
However its Mike's hardworking Midwestern roots that give him his hands on style.
"My father was a trainer so I grew up around racing. We lived in Madison Heights, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. My family raced at Hazel Park half the year and Detroit Race Course the other half, and like most kids I dreamed of winning the Kentucky Derby. Not only did I work at the track, but I was a racing fan. I owned my first horse when I was 13, and he won the first race we ran him in....I was hooked. I saved money for my first horse by delivering the Detroit Free Press and by walking hots on the weekends for my dad. I eventually worked up to assistant to my dad, and was an owner and trainer on my own for a short time. I was very fortunate to land a job with DWL (D. Wayne Lukas) in November 1993. This job enabled me to travel and gain a priceless wealth of experience at the highest level of thoroughbred racing."
Mike started his own stable in 2003, and has been winning ever since. No doubt the experiences gained from working w/ both his father, and D. Wayne Lukas helped him break the record for wins last fall at historic Churchill Downs.
"Like all these young guys that are successful, he's grown up with it. He's been a success in our program at every level. He's a very astute trainer with good horsemanship skills, and he's remarkably adept at dealing with people."
- D. Wayne Lukas